Home Opinion Travel How I nearly collapsed after long foreign trip with Buhari—Adesina

How I nearly collapsed after long foreign trip with Buhari—Adesina

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Former Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Femi Adesina said that stress from a long foreign trip with his principal led to him almost collapsing during a presentation at the headquarters of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Abuja.

Adesina said the incident happened after flying 17 hours from Seoul, the Republic of Korea capital, where he had joined Buhari to attend the first World Bio Summit organised by the World Health Organisation in October 2022.

In his book, Working with Buhari: Reflections of a Special Adviser, Media and Publicity (2015-2023), launched in Abuja on Tuesday, the former presidential spokesman wrote: “On the way back from Seoul, flying time was 17 hours. The explanation a layman like me would understand was that we were flying against the wind. But it was a strenuous trip.

“I had a presentation to make two days later at a seminar on Strategic Communication organised by the headquarters of the NSCDC for its spokesmen from across the country. I knew I was weary and needed rest, but I had given my word that I would be available.

“The first thing that should have flashed an alarm bell in my mind was that when I got out of bed that morning, I staggered a bit. I did not give it much consideration and was at the event by the scheduled time. I had presented my paper for about 35 minutes and was concluding when I suddenly lost focus. I became disoriented and could no longer see the paper I was speaking from. I became transfixed on the podium”.

Adesina narrated that the spokesman for the Department of State Services, Dr. Peter Afunnaya noticed that he was in distress and guided him to his seat. The presidential spokesman narrated how he was taken away for a medical checkup afterwards.

“I did not need to be told that I had burned my candle at both ends and I was running into trouble health-wise. From the event, I went straight to the brand new Everight Diagnostic Centre in the Wuse area of Abuja.

“I told my story to Mr. Everest Okpara, who owns the place and he ran comprehensive tests on me. When the results came, I saw areas I needed to watch for an aspiring senior citizen. I took the necessary care and had no health scare again till we landed on 29th May 2023.

“The lesson? Do not think you are indestructible. So watch it because your health also matters. Do not drive yourself to breaking point”, he added.

Adesina also recounted how Buhari’s official jet almost crashed with him and his aides in November 2015, six months after assuming office.

Buhari had been travelling to the Island of Malta to attend a meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government when the plane encountered turbulence that persisted for a while.

According to him, the turbulence was so severe that when the plane finally landed in Malta, a deeply terrified Buhari queried the captain, “What kind of landing is this?” The captain later apologised to the President and his terrified passengers.

In Chapter 21 of the book, captioned ‘Over 50 foreign trips… and a health scare,’ Adesina explained: “A presidential jet is not immune from bad weather and the accompanying turbulence (many hours of that we experienced). Neither is it spared from what aviators call wind shear (a sudden change in the direction of the wind). We had a frightful experience).

“In November 2015, we travelled to Malta to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and it was an uneventful flight till the flight crew announced that we should get ready for landing.

“A few seconds from touching the tarmac, the Boeing 737 business jet got buffeted from all sides and began to sway dangerously. On touching down, it pirouetted and gyrated like a drunken sailor; and was almost turning over. ‘Which kind of landing is this?’ The President said. I was seated with him in his special cabin”.

Buhari’s spokesman went on to list 94 countries the President visited officially during his eight-year term, with the highest 19 trips in 2016, 18 in 2022, 16 in 2015, 12 in 2018 and 10 in the following year.

The former President embarked on his least number of two trips in 2020. He made five each in 2021 and 2023 before departing Abuja for his hometown of Daura, Katsina, on 29th May 2023.

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